Selfie Culture is Ruining Tourist Attractions

DC Temple and Fountain Photo by Author

The LDS Temple in DC is open right now for public tours. It will close to the public again next month. We did the tour yesterday. Photos were not allowed inside, but there were several good photo ops outside the temple. You can see more of my. photos here.

I wanted to get this picture before we left. It took a while because there were three women who spent way too long taking photos in front of this area. Each posed in front with a friend giving them direction to get the perfect pose, most likely for social media. Then they had to do a selfie with all three of them and there were discussions about the best pose for this as well. No thought at all about all of the other people around them who wanted to get a quick picture.

We had been behind them for most of the walk around the gardens. This happened at every decent photo spot. They monopolized every good photo spot with the same antics. Desperately trying to get the perfect shot of themselves.

This is not a new thing. Almost every trip we take to any place that is popular with tourists this plays out. People are more focused on getting that perfect shot for Instagram than they are on enjoying the moment. I take pictures because I like to share the experience, but I take a quick shot after I have experienced the location without looking through a lens. I don’t even like people in my pictures, so there is no posing for me.

All of the posing jams up any location that people want to see. You can’t enjoy the experience because you are blocked from seeing anything by the people with their phones and selfie sticks. Or, as in the case above, people posing like they are a supermodel while a friend takes the picture. People so focused on the selfie that they don’t take the time to appreciate what they are photographing. People so focused on the selfie that they don’t care how they are affecting other people’s experience.

There are increasing cases of deaths and injuries from people falling off of cliffs because they were so focused on the selfie they didn’t realize they were walking off the edge.

One of the reasons I loved my last overseas trip so much is that Baku is not a big tourist location so we were able to enjoy the city without waiting out photo sessions in front of everything.

I’m not saying don’t take vacation pictures. I love sharing vacation photos. I’m saying:

  • Don’t focus more on getting the perfect Instagram shot than you do on the experience.
  • Don’t forget to consider how your posing is affecting the others around you.
  • Don’t be more focused on the picture than your personal safety.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.


9 thoughts on “Selfie Culture is Ruining Tourist Attractions

  1. As a member of the Selfie Generation who also likes taking pictures that display my POV over my face, I can’t tell you how many times I have to sneak pics of cool things I see in passing because otherwise my friends will say “Let’s take a selfie here!”

    I take selfies at home (I have the whole tripod set up and everything), but when I’m in the world, I want to BE IN the world, not making it a backdrop for my one-woman show. I’m always the grumpy friend who skips the “photo shoot” portion of social experiences. lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you mentioned your comment in the post you linked back to here because the spam filter ate it and I didn’t see it.
      I dont have any issues with selfies in general. It’s more the, let’s take hundreds of different poses to get the perfect Instagram post, culture I guess. I agree that I prefer to be in the world, not making it a backdrop. Thanks for the comment.


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